Thursday, February 09, 2012

Love and Infatuation

The difference between love and infatuation can be distinguished (in this model, for my purposes, in this post) as how accurately you see.

If she (or he, or it... we'll get to that) is the prettiest and the funniest and the smartest; if everything she (or he or it) does, no matter how stupid, is actually very clever on a deeper level... that's infatuation.

When you can see the flaws and still think, "This is right" it's probably love.

It applies to martial arts, too. People fall in love with an art or an instructor and sometimes the critical faculties disappear. Back in the '70's (that's 1970s to you whippersnappers) I read an article in a martial arts magazine trying to explain why the new contact kickboxing circuit was a bad idea and completely unnecessary. The author explained that a good point-sparrer because of his years of training in control and precision, could 'toy' with a street thug.

Control and precision at missing, basically.

You'll get it from almost every rookie in almost every system. And you'll hear it from the groupies and fanboys. And you'll hear it from the people who have found something damn close to a religion. Sometimes it's honest, though dumb or misguided. The guy who said that 'because MMA is the closest thing to real fighting, anything against the rules must be against the rules because it doesn't work' probably really believed it. He had accepted his religion as the highest possible standard of 'proof of effectiveness.' Therefore anything not within his religion must not rise to even a low level of effectiveness.

Same/same with RBSD instructors who insist that knowing self-defense law will somehow confuse and freeze their students. For what ever reason they didn't learn it coming up and, when you are infatuated, every blemish is a beauty mark.

Love is different. I love K, but she is not and can never be all things. If I have to go through a door I want Mike. For talking about stuff like this, it used to be Sean and Mac, but that list is growing. If I need a doctor, K can't step into that role. But I will happily spend the rest of my life with her. Somehow, in that process, I won't depend on her to be everything.

With combatives or martial arts, it's the same. Your art isn't complete. Get over it. Unless it covers everything from talking down emotional people up to small unit tactics and firearms, (and adjusts for you whether you are in the best shape of your life or old and injured) it is not complete. That's okay. You aren't complete either. Part of being human.

But some of them are damn good, and some of the ones you find damn good might not be a good fit for me and vice-versa. I loved judo and classical jujutsu. They made me better (and that's one of the things with my personal version of love-- it makes me want to continuously improve, to become worthy). But they had holes. Judo had few fast finishes; it concentrated on a level of chess-match that I rarely had time for and it trained against itself instead of the attacks I routinely got. JJ was beautiful for ambush survival, integrating a fighter, and paid proper respect to weapons... but it had almost nothing for the lower end of the force continuum.

But both of them were sweaty, physical and hands-on, something else I tend to like in love. And infatuation, actually. Hmmmm. Strike that whole sentence. I just like sweaty action.

Is infatuation bad? I'm not sure. Because I've experienced love and found it to be deeper and stronger, I tend to focus on the delusional aspects of infatuation and worry about the almost inevitable crash. But whether it is a first crush (except for the angsty stuff, let's amend that to the first mutual crush) or a rocking new ultimate unbeatable martial art, you don't often see people happier than infatuated kids. So maybe it's not so bad.

But I still encourage all of you, if you haven't already, to find something that fits. Something that you will be happy with and love, eyes wide open to what it truly is and what it isn't, for the rest of your life.


nry said...

Some 'arts' often attempt to brainwash their students into thinking they are getting training in 'self defence', I'm not even sure the people doing the brainwashing have a clue they are doing it as they themselves are stuck in the same situation!

Kai Jones said...

You can use infatuation to your advantage, if you can manage any mindfulness at all. The hyperfocus and energy lift can speed learning and integrate new material deeply, because of the emotional connection to the material. Of course this can be good and bad, depending.

I remember learning to recognize just about any car on the road from its grill, in the late 1970s, because the boy I liked was a muscle car enthusiast. If only he'd liked calculus instead!

Anonymous said...

I think I needed to hear this. A few years ago I kind of downgraded my art from infatuation to love.

Some days I just feel like "This art doesn't completely cover everything 100%=wasting time" and have to remind myself that nothing else will either.

Anonymous said...

Kai - I think your answer is probably the state to aim for a lot of training, particularly when you need some motivation.

Soul Ja said...

Interesting point about back in the day pointer sparring and full contact. I just thought of the sport of muay thai, where some fighters in thailand who have had hundreds of fights will have a combination of point sparring and full contact work, this helps them become technicians and full force appliers of their sport.

 I assume It's similar  to a combination of clay shooting, paintball, rubber bullets and live ammo for target practise as well scenario training. 

Whats your y'all  experience in firearms and tactics, upsides and downsides to the different approaches?

Steve Perry said...

Anon --

With all due respect, going from infatuation to love is not a downgrade. No how.

Karen DeBolt said...

Infatuation is just the first stage towards love. Obviously, not all infatuation makes the grade and ends up at love, but all love begins as infatuation. Its that chemical reaction that signals attraction. It is heady stuff indeed and, yes, a LOT of fun! But it doesn't last. Either it will burn out and fade away or more rarely and wonderfully it will deepen and grow into love. Love grows - infatuation does not.